Changes to EU regulations
Changes to EU regulations
An amendment to the EU organic regulation has been published*. It covers permitted substances and practices for use in organic farming, growing, food manufacture and aquaculture.
Here is a summary of the changes:
Livestock – buying in after catastrophic events.
Clarification that under catastrophic circumstances when non-organic animals are brought in to renew or reconstitute the herd/flock, the respective conversion periods still apply.
The list of feed additives has been reviewed and amended.
To align with general legislation for all feed additives, substance categories have been substituted and ID numbers have been amended. For example, ‘E 306, tocopherol-rich extracts of natural origin’ does not exist anymore and has been replaced with ‘1b306(i) tocopherol extracts from vegetable oils’. These changes are summarised in point 16 -18 and in Annex II of the amendment document (see here).
Three new substances have also been included:
- Selenised yeast
- Tribasic copper chloride (dicopper chloride trihydroxide, TBCC)
- Tetra-basic zinc chloride (zinc chloride hydroxide monohydrate, TBZC)
Aquaculture juveniles and replacement stock in catastrophic circumstances
The permission to use non-organic aquaculture juveniles and seed from non-organic bivalve shellfish hatcheries has been extended to 31 December 2016. In the case of high mortality of aquaculture animals caused by circumstances listed in Article 57(1)(a) to (d) of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Defra may authorise the renewal or reconstitution of the aquaculture stock with non-organic aquaculture animals, when organically reared animals are not available and provided that at least the latter two thirds of the duration of the production cycle are managed under organic management.
Pesticides and plant protection products
The list of pesticides and plant protection products allowed in the Organic Regulation has been reviewed and amended in line with horizontal legislation covering active substances for farming in general. The system is simplified so that the names of substances, conditions of use and authorisations are the same as those in the general farming legislation for active substances. For example, this means that fatty acid potassium salt is now called fatty acids. There are a number of substances for which the conditions of use have changed which can be reviewed in Annex I of the amendment document (see here).
Based on the recommendations from EGTOP new substances have also been included:
- Carbon dioxide – used as a gas in stores to kill insects and mites.
- Diatomaceous earth (kieselgur) – a fine powder made from the fossilised remains of diatoms. It acts by drying insects out through removing their waxy surface layer.
- Potassium bicarbonate (potassium hydrogen carbonate) – used as an insecticide and contact fungicide to control pear sucker (pear psylla), Venturia inaequalis (apple scab) and Uncinula necator (Vine powdery mildew).
- Basic substances – A new category which includes substances that are useful in plant protection, but are not predominantly used for this purpose. Many of them have been traditionally used in organic farming before even being classified as basic substances. They must be classified as a foodstuff and be from plant or animal origin.
This category currently includes eight new substances:
- Chitosan hydrochloride - The term Chitosan refers to several derivatives made up of glucosamine monomers (sugar). Chitosan derivatives are used in medicine, food and cosmetics. Glucosamine is part of the structure of chitin, which composes the exoskeleton of crustaceans and other arthropods, as well as the cell walls of several fungi.
- Diammonium phosphate – used as non-lethal attractant for fruit flies (Ceratitis capitata, Rhagoletis cerasi and Bactrocera oleae) placed in physical traps.
- Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) – used to treat foliar diseases in tomatoes, vines, fruit trees and cucumbers.
- Fructose – sugar, only permitted for use as an elicitor of the crop's natural defence mechanisms.
- Sucrose - sugar, only permitted for use as an elicitor of the crop's natural defence mechanisms.
- Willow bark (Salix spp. Cortex)
- Baking soda (Sodium hydrogen carbonate or sodium bicarbonate)
An amendment was made to the scope of the detailed production rules for seaweed to clarify that these rules also apply to the production of micro-algae for use as food. Article 6a is replaced by the following: ‘Article 6a Scope This Chapter lays down detailed production rules for seaweed. For the purposes of this Chapter “seaweed” includes multi-cellular marine algae, phytoplankton and micro-algae.’; [clarification]
Food additives and processing aids
The list of food additives and processing aids allowed in the organic regulation has been reviewed and amended. The system is simplified so that the conditions of use, authorisations and purity criteria for substances are the same as those in the general legislation. For example, this means that kaolin has been removed as it was only authorised until 31 January 2014. There are a number of substances for which the conditions of use have changed which can be reviewed in Annex III of the amendment document (see here).
- Lecithin must be organic from 1st January 2019.
- Beeswax and carnauba wax must be organic (used as additives or processing aids)
- Vegetable oils and potato starch used as processing aids must be organic.
- New substances have been reviewed against organic objectives and principles to allow new products to be used as additives in organic food production. These include beeswax (E901), carnuba wax (E903), gellan gum (E418) and Erythritol (E968).
- New substances have been reviewed against organic objectives and principles to allow new products to be used as processing aids in organic food production. These include thiamine hydrochloride and diammonium phosphate (for use in fruit wines, cider, perry and mead), acetic acid/vinegar (for fish processing), sodium carbonate and wood fibre.
- The specific conditions for use of the following substances have been amended: sulphur dioxide, potassium metabisulphite, tocopherol-rich extract, lecithins, citric acid, sodium citrate, tartaric acid, glycerol, sodium carbonate, silicon dioxide gel or colloidal solution and sodium hydroxide.
The deadline to review and re-evaluate some oenological practices, processes and treatments with a view to phase out or further restrict their use, has been extended by three years to 1 August 2018.
If you need to use any of the permitted new substances you can apply for an exceptional permission – find out more here. We will be consulting on whether to add these to our new standards in the food and farming consultation due to launch in mid-October.
Simple changes to the wording of the regulation are reflected in our revised standards which you can find here.
*New EU regulation 2016/673 amends EC 889/2008.